Julie Lessman is a new author who has garnered much writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. She is the author of The Daughters of Boston series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. You can contact Julie through her website at http://www.julielessman.com/.
SKC: Now, that you are here, Julie, please tell us what inspiration went behind the penning of your third book, A Passion Denied.
JL: Gosh, Shirley, I wish I could tell you that I had this grand scheme for Lizzie and Brady’s book, but I’m afraid it just kind of naturally happened as the O’Connor saga evolved. I knew that I loved John Morrison Brady from A Passion Most Pure, and since he was the male counterpart to Faith O’Connor as the spiritual influence in Collin’s life, I found that I couldn’t let him go once the book ended. So in book 2, A Passion Redeemed, it seemed natural to make him Collin’s business partner in the print shop and equally as natural to give 13-year-old Beth O’Connor a crush on him at the same time since she was not only a bookworm like Brady, but a romantic dreamer as well.
SKC: Will you always write historical-inspirational, or do you have plans to venture out, and if so, to where?
JL: Oooo … good question, Shirley! As a matter of fact, I’ve been plotting a semi-contemporary series in my head for a while now, something that would take place in the Baby Boomer era of the 60s, and I’m starting to get pretty excited about it. A series title I’m thinking of at the moment is The Cousins McClare, and basically it would be a love/hate tug-of-war between cousins and their families (and their love interests!) in a small lake community.
But I do love historicals A LOT, so I also have thoughts about a prequel about Marcy and Patrick O’Connor (a story which is hinted at in book 3, A Passion Denied), as well as stories about each of the O’Connor girls’ children … The Cousins of Boston, maybe? J Who knows!
SKC: Tell us about some of the authors who have given you insight on how to express your own voice, and have taught you the most about development of style
JL: Well, without question, Margaret Mitchell got it all started for me with her amazing novel, Gone With the Wind. That book instilled a love for romance in me at the age of 12 that I hope carries through into my novels today. And, of course, King Solomon who wrote the “Song of Solomon” in the Bible, which opened my eyes as to just how passionate God’s love is for each of us. As far as craft, the author who had the most influence on me would be Donald Maas and his Writing the Breakout Novel, and more recently, The Moral Premise by Stanley D. Williams, a book highly recommended by my agent, Natasha Kern, and one that is changing how I look at the structure of a novel.
SKC: When you are in the middle of series and deadlines does it cramp your creativity, or enhance it, and why?
JL: Well, deadlines drive me like nothing else, so when I have one before me, I find that I push on the writing all the more, and the more I write, the more creative I become. So although I don’t LIKE deadlines hovering, they are a necessary evil that seem to spur my creative juices on.
SKC: As we close please give us a hint about your new series coming out next year, where our readers can reach you, and share a question you might have about how they’ve received your work, thus far.
JL: My next 3-book series will finish off the saga of the O’Connors in grand style. Book 1 will be the story of the youngest daughter, Katie, which is fun because she is a pistol who comes of age in the Roaring Twenties, right before The Great Depression. Books 2 and 3 will be about the O’Connor brothers, Sean and Steven, during the exciting era of speakeasies, dance marathons, gangsters, G-men and era criminals like Bonnie & Clyde and John Dillenger. Sean's love interest will be ... guess who? Emma, Charity's scarred friend from book 2, A Passion Redeemed! Steven will be a tall, brooding G-man-type modeled after Elliot Ness … you know, a la Robert Stack from the Untouchables? Hubba hubba. I’m very excited because all three plots are very involved, include detailed sub-stories for ALL the character couples (can you say “complicated”???) and each plot has surprises that I hope will blow my readers away!
Gosh, Shirley, as far as how readers have received my work thus far, I have to say that I’m pretty blown away by some of the e-mails I have received. Stories like the one from the 15-year-old who couldn’t talk to her mom about anything, she said, UNTIL her mom gave her my book and suddenly they had common ground in their mutual love of the story. Or the guy who contacted me to get a signed copy for a friend he wanted as a girlfriend. When he told her he wanted a deeper relationship with her, she actually made him read A Passion Most Pure because “that was the kind of relationship she wanted, with God in the middle!” Or the fallen-away woman who would not read Inspirational books on a dare, but picked mine up not realizing it was spiritual. She wrote that A Passion Most Pure rekindled her love for God and gave her hope again. It just doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
SDC: Sounds exciting!
JL: Thanks SO much, Shirley, for allowing me this time to connect with you and your readership. Anyone who would like to contact me can do so through my website at http://www.julielessman.com/, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter, in which I feature book giveaways and contests. For instance, currently I am running a contest where I am going to name a character in my next book after the contest winner. Finally, I invite your readers to visit The Seekers, a group blog of which I am a part that talks about “The road to publication. Writing, contests, publication and everything in between.” You can find it at http://seekerville.blogspot.com/.
SDC: Julie, I can’t thank you enough for coming by to visit. I am in the middle of A Passion Denied right now, and look forward to the read.
I also understand you look are forwarding to donating a book to one of our guests! What a great gift for POST Mother's Day!
A big congratulations to Linda Wagner of Minnesota! You have just won Julie's book. Thank you so much for joining us and leaving your comment. Be watching for your book!